Monday, May 28

All Five Seasons, All Five Senses

 That's right, five seasons. An explanatory exploration, after the jump!

     Depending on where you're from or even just where your house is in this area . . . the extra season can be inserted into any one of the traditional seasons.  Spring (Mud and/or Bug), Summer (Tourist and/or Too Humid to Move), Fall (Leaf Peepers and/or Utterly Unpredictable Weather), Winter (Snow and/or So Cold The Car Won't Start).  Others abound, I'm sure.  But there are so many good things that go with each season.  My favorite sound in all the world is the sound of cold, cold snow falling on to a snowy crust.  But, it's not winter right now, it's Bug SeasonSpring.
     My husband and I have joined a CSA from a local organic garden.  It has been great to have fresh lettuce and greens from the high tunnels, locally made bread, fresh herbs, rhubarb (for the only kind of pie I like), bok choy, all kinds of things.  Like I said, it's great!  And all those spring harvest things really taste like spring.  They are green, crisp, bitter, sweet, tart, and manage to still be warm and homey.  They excite the palette for all that's going to come next.  While spring here means that it is warming up, it's still not hot and the nights are usually quite cool.  When I first bite into that strawberry rhubarb pie .  .  . it is both tart and crisp, but buttery and warm.  The rhubarb always has just enough give left, after the strawberries have all but liquified, and the crust melts right into the gooey filling.
     I feel like I already talked about the sights in the last post . . . But I didn't talk about how welcome it is after the platitudes of our bleak winter.  Monochrome to polychrome.  The combination of the green leaves and the blue sky.  It is beautiful.  There always seems to be one day each year that I always remember vividly . . . when I drive up our road and for some reason that day, the leaves are their brightest, fullest, freshest and illuminated by the sun in such a way and the new growth stretches and reaches across the road and that's the day.  Just, the day.  It's the day of spring when everything is out and it's official.
     In a way, it goes without saying that with all those sights, come all the fresh smells.  The produce from the CSA, the first time the grass has to get mowed, the dirt, the flowers, the leaves.  My favorite smell of spring and of fall is the smell of the ponds turning over.  It may not sound good on spec, since it's really the smell of old mud and decay from the body of water, but I love that smell.  It's earthy and rich, strong and sensuous, that thickly clear burst that gushes into the car windows when it's finally warm enough to drive with them open for any length of time.  Plus, lilacs or, when I lived in Indiana, the jasmine are intoxicating, it's true!  They smell so fragrant and yummy that you catch whiffs of them while you walk out to your car and you just have to stand there and really take some nice slow, deep breaths to enjoy the power of that odor.
     Just as the sun warms up and turns over the ponds, the sun actually hitting bare flesh feels so damn good after being covered and bundled all winter.  That first day in shorts or a skirt when the sunlight can fall directly on skin which hasn't gotten exposed to vitamin D for months and months, it is awakeningly spectacular.  The plushness and tickles of the grass on bare feet.  Even the crunchy graininess of sand on the pavement, as it squishes into the soles of your feet; the sensation of rolling your foot slowly over the sand.  The sensitivity of stepping into a puddle and feeling the water tension push back ever so slightly against the oils of your skin while the water envelopes your toes and creeps up into the crevice of your toenail.  It's sublime.
     Last but not least, the sounds.  My favorite.  I love the sounds.  The owls sound clearer, the coyotes sound more playful, the crickets start to broadcast the temperatures, the moths gently smoosh into the screens with their fuzzy bodies.  The leaves rustle in the breezes and sound as gentle as television static is brash.  The noise grows, shrinks, and swells much like the doppler effect and as the leaves brush, rub, and stroke against each other it dapples the sunlight or invites in the darkness.  It is brilliant.  That sound weaves together spring, summer, and fall.  In spring it means the leaves are announcing themselves and feeling out their boundaries while suckling in the sunlight.  In summer they are announcing the breeze that cuts the humid air and makes sleeping possible.  In fall they announce their demise as they brush, rub, and stroke against each other until they fall and sprinkle the ground with the beginning of winter.